Gospel Credibility

The rich and famous don’t add credibility to the gospel message any more than the poor and unknown. 1 Certainly it’s the presence of God that makes the gospel credible? 2 Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to be in right relationship with God. Does not the Holy Spirit prepare us for the presence of God? 3 Only by cooperating with the Holy Spirit will God dwell in us, his temple. 4 When God dwells in us, through Christ Jesus, our lives are a living testimony of the power of the gospel. 5 History is dotted with men and women who carried the presence of God. 6

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” -Jesus Christ 7

 

Smith Wigglesworth 1859 – 1947

On some occasions people would have a burning conviction of sin just sitting nearby Smith Wigglesworth because of the presence of God he carried with him at all times. Once he boarded a train in Bradford bound for London and entered a compartment where five other people later had entered. Wigglesworth began to read his Bible and pray in silence as was his custom.

After a period of time the man sitting next to Smith confided with him that a great fear had come over him that he was going to die, so he asked Smith why this had occurred. The other four passengers also felt the same fear, so he then spoke to them about conviction and the way of salvation and they all accepted the Lord.

 

Charles G. Finney 1792 – 1875

Excerpt from his memoirs, circa 1868

Another circumstance occurred which I must not fail to notice. There was a cotton manufactory on the Oriskany creek, a little above Whitesboro, a place now called New York Mills. It was owned by a Mr. Wolcott, an unconverted man, but a gentleman of high standing and good morals. My brother-in-law. Mr. George Andrews, was at that time superintendent of the factory. I was invited to go and preach at that place, and went up one evening and preached in the village schoolhouse, which was of large size and was crowded to its utmost capacity. The Word, I could see, took powerful effect among the people, especially among the young people who were at work in the factory.

The next morning after breakfast, I went into the factory to look through it. As I went through the factory I observed there was a good deal of agitation among those that were busy at their looms, and their mules, and other implements of work. On passing through one of the apartments where a great number of young women were attending to their spinning or weaving, I observed a couple of them eyeing me, and speaking very earnestly to each other; and I could see that they were a good deal agitated, although they both laughed. I went slowly toward them. They saw me coming, and were evidently much excited. The thread of one of the machines broke, and I observed that the girl’s hands trembled so that she could not mend it. I approached slowly, looking on each side at the machinery as I passed, but observed that this girl grew more and more agitated, and could not proceed with her work. When I came within eight or ten feet of her, I looked solemnly at her. She observed it, and was quite overcome, and sunk down, and burst into tears. That impression caught almost like powder, and in a few moments nearly all in the room were in tears.

This feeling spread through the factory. Mr. Wolcott, the owner of the establishment, was present, and seeing the state of things, he said to the superintendent, “Stop the mill, and let the people attend to religion; for it is more important that our souls should be saved than that this factory run.” The gate was immediately shut down, and the factory stopped–but where should we assemble? The superintendent suggested that the mule room was large; and the mules being run up, we could assemble there. We did so, and a more powerful meeting I scarcely ever saw. It went on with great power. The building was large, and had a great many people in it from the garret to the cellar. The revival went through the mill with astonishing power, and in the course of a few days nearly all in the mill were hopefully converted.

 

The Welsh Revival 1904 – 1905

Many have claimed that the Welsh Revival was the greatest revival in history, based on its tremendous power and worldwide impact. The revival’s visible leaders were largely children and teenagers. Evan Roberts, the revivals best known leader was only 26 years old. There were no great speakers or dynamic leaders, only nameless believers, sold out to God and fully obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Many of the world’s most renowned Christian leaders came from all corners of the world to marvel and sit at the feet of these children entirely under the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit.

One of the central themes of the revival was that God wasn’t looking for great eloquence, impressive leadership or great wisdom, He was looking for those who were humble and obedient to the voice of the Spirit, who despised worldly acclaim and desired above all else to exult God only! One truly astonishing feature of this revival was the absence of planning and promotion, everything was done under the spontaneous leading of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was always the main attraction in the revival, speakers and singers were not announced. When the meetings began there was no telling what was going to happen.

 

My Prayer: God, I want my life to accurately reflect You. I want to be an ambassador of reconciliation, not because of who I am but because of who You are. You have saved me; I desire others to know the depths of Your love and experience Your goodness, Your peace, and the fullness of being loved by You. Amen.

Narrow Way

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.8

Consider: When I lean on my own understanding, in addition to not trusting God, am I not also closing my ears towards God?

We acknowledge him by agreeing with and speaking the truth.  Is confession not agreeing with God?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.2  The enemy wants me to fear punishment and hide my sins.3  The truth sets me free!4  The truth enables me to boldly come to the throne of grace and obtain mercy.5  Do I not need mercy when I am at my worst?6  Paul knew this so he counted everything as lost to be saturated in the mercy and grace of God.7  8  God’s power is made perfect in weakness.9  10

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.11

Consider: “Fear the Lord and shun evil” –do we shun evil out of fear?  Don’t we choose sin because we think it to be good in some way?  Choosing what I think is good –isn’t that being wise in my own eyes?

My Confession: I find myself on my knees nearly every night confessing my sins and failures through out the day.  Today I asked the Lord why I keep doing the same things over and over.12  He simply replied, “You can start your day on your knees or end it on your knees.” After contemplating His response, I realized the outcome is radically different!  One focuses on God and the other on self; the one acknowledges a dependence on God and the other how “I” mismanaged “my” day.

My Prayer:  God, I desire to start on my knees and give You the first fruits of everyday!13  Please forgive me for leaning on my own understanding, trusting in myself and being wise in my own eyes.  Please teach me to acknowledge you in all of my ways and give you the glory and honor that you alone deserve.  Please direct my paths, to shun evil and not turn to the right or the left but instead, to walk in your ways.14

I’m a Link in this Chain – Lord Break Me!

Just yesterday my teen age son decided to deep clean his room.  With the help of a friend they took everything and donated it.  When I got home I asked him what he had done with some key things of value.  His response punched the wind out of me.

Some of the toys my son got rid off were rare and valuable.  Because they were discontinued shortly after I started buying them for him, I had to search and search for the rare pieces and pay a premium.  It was worth it because he enjoyed playing with them and I imagined my son passing them along to his son like I did with my toys to him.

As a boy I had some German toys that were difficult to get because there were limited importers.  They were of the highest quality and also because of rarity they were expensive.  They were construction/building toys combined with modular electronics and photo optics; they even had hydraulic modules, although I only dreamed about someday playing with them.  There was absolutely nothing like them; it was like having a miniature engineering play set.  Due to availability and expense it took years to get the modest number of modules I had.  These were my most coveted toys.  I saved them for my son and when I deemed he was old enough I brought them out so he could play with them.

I was devastated to learn that he donated the most coveted toys of my youth.  I was shocked by the substantial financial loss of these irreplaceable treasures.  There was no undo, I knew there was no recovery; the first person who opened up the case would certainly recognize the uniqueness, quality and value and hide them away.  I was overwhelmed with emotions: I was hurting, I was angry, the loss eclipsed my ability to concentrate on anything else however, the call to love my son was breaking through.  It took a sense of urgency to allow the Holy Spirit to work within me to forgive.  I knew I couldn’t go to sleep without my son hearing me say, “Son, I love you, I forgive you”.

On my face, before the Lord, I prayed and asked for the ability to let go and forgive.  The war within me was real, how could my son and these things be on the same level?  I gave these things to the Lord along with asking that they would be the first of the many things I wrongfully hold on to.  I asked that this would be like the breaching of a dam.  Grace and love to let go entered into my heart; willingly I forgave my son.

Without hurt and anger blinding me, I began asking questions.  The answers, following the impact of this experience, are still working over my heart.  How could my son give away something so important?  The answer is as simple as the implications of it is profound.  Simply, these things were of no importance to my son or he wouldn’t have cast them aside.  I had failed to communicate to my son their value, significance and importance.  How did this happen?  I never played with him…

My Prayer:  Oh God, please forgive me!  My heart is breaking as I’m sure my son’s heart is left wanting.  Search me and show me how I could let this happen.15  Please heal my son from my sin of omission; fill the void with your love.  As it is only possible for you, please love my son through me and soften his heart to receive.  Thank you God, that my son isn’t attached to things, please create a strong bond of love between us.

Lord, I’m a link in this chain, please break me!2

God, I know there is much more at stake than this, which has just scratched the surface and foreshadows much deeper things.3  4  I admit not only have I not taught my children to play but I have not taught them to worship you.5  My failures are too much to bear, I lay them at your feet.6  Please heal my children from the effects of my sin; my sins of commission and omission have left them hurting and wanting.  God, because of who you are, please have mercy on my children and I.  Are you not the God of mercy?

God, I’m still reeling from this vast revelation; I don’t know how to put into words the things that the Holy Spirit is revealing to me.  I’m a link in this chain that was passed along from my father and his father etc.7  Thank you for breaking me, please let this stop with me, heal my children, change me, close the divide between my children and I.  Please, are you not the author of reconciliation?  I know I made this mess however, is it not possible for you to restore what has been lost, in fact, can you not make it even better since you’re able to make all things work for our good?8  Do you not reign over the impossible?9  God, I need impossible, I need you.  Amen

“We do not really believe in God unless we believe He is God of the impossible.” David Wilkerson